Subscribe to my full feed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hula Hoops for Burlesque Fun and Fitness

Vivacious Miss AudaciousWant to be able to rock a pair of metallic mini-shorts with a tight rear and toned midsection? Good news, folks. There's a fun way to get there.

Step 1: Buy a Hula Hoop.
Step 2: Get those hips moving.
Audria Larsenalso has made a business of hooping by offering custom-made hoops.

The hoop has been Audria Larsen's secret to success.

The 25-year-old Grand Rapids performance artist has come a long way since winning Hula Hoop competitions as a kid doing the traditional around-the-waist hooping.

She rediscovered the joy of hooping about three years ago, when doing Internet research on hula dance. It was love at first twirl, and now she's way ahead of the hoop fitness craze that's making its way to West Michigan, for some as part of the Nintendo's Wii Fit.

"It's just been an amazing thing," said Larsen, who sells handmade Audacious Hoops and has plans to teach hoop dance classes. "It's changed my life and ... my body."

A student at Aquinas College, Larsen twirls hoops to stay in shape and entertain audiences who come to see her perform as the Vivacious Miss Audacious with the Grand Rapids-based Super Happy Funtime Burlesque Show. She twirls multiple hoops and makes the tricks look easy.

Hula Hoop workout video

While her performances as Miss Audacious are for mature audiences, she wants to spread the love of hooping to the masses by offering classes soon.

Before you dismiss hooping as child's play, take a look at the midsections of those who swear by it.

Michelle Obama helped raise the status of hooping when she was photographed doing it with her daughters. Marisa Tomei used a "hoop dance" workout to get in shape for her role as a dancer in "The Wrestler."

If that doesn't inspire you to start twirling, talk to Karen Bell, a Traverse City woman who used hooping to accomplish a more realistic goal: fitting into her mother-of-the-bride dress.

"I was just looking to get the dress zipped," said Bell, 47. Now she says she's got "a six pack for the first time in my life."

While genetics probably has a lot to do with Bell's ability to quickly develop a toned midsection, the hoop does provide an excellent abdominal and core workout, said Teri Harmon, group fitness director for East Hills and the Michigan Athletic Club. Fitness instructors at both clubs have been using hoops in group fitness classes for years.

"We love it because it's fun," Harmon said.

Hooping has evolved from a 1960s childhood fad to an adult-friendly, calorie-burning art form called "hoop dance." Internet companies such as Hoopnotica and HoopGirl offer instructional videos and specialized hoops.
by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

No comments: